Question Recommendations for M.2 NVME drives that offer excellent REAL WORLD Performance?

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logainofhades

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I guess, it depends on who you ask.
I, personally, was able to distinguish the difference between the Samsung 970 PRO 1TB and the Samsung 970 EVO Plus 250GB SSDs.
You can “feel” the speed upgrade in daily usage (downloading drivers, installing programs, using sound libraries, copying ISO images or large files, etc.)
Even with gigabit internet, downloading files will be 0 different between those two drives. File swaps, there could be some difference. In real world usage in general, there is little difference between the two. Moving large files being the only possible exception. I have a 660p, in my desktop, with 2x hybrid Seagate Firecudas. For the files I commonly access, I see 0 performance difference, thanks to the ssd cache, on those drives. I have a 256gb NVME drive that came with my laptop, and a 1tb crucial MX500 in place of the 1tb HDD it came with. I can tell 0 difference between accessing something on the Nvme drive, vs the much slower SATA drive. My game load times showed 0 difference, so I permanently moved what I play on the MX500, to free up my NVME drives.
 

falcon291

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I think that the weak spots on all NAND based drives are the random transfers.

3D X-Point (Intel Optane / Crucial) SSDs would’ve solved that, but they’ve kinda stopped making them for consumers.
Intel Optane drives are not exactly at the same league.

They were a lot more expensive with limited capacity and thought to be cache drives instead. For the rich of course it was an option.
 

falcon291

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Even with gigabit internet, downloading files will be 0 different between those two drives. File swaps, there could be some difference. In real world usage in general, there is little difference between the two. Moving large files being the only possible exception. I have a 660p, in my desktop, with 2x hybrid Seagate Firecudas. For the files I commonly access, I see 0 performance difference, thanks to the ssd cache, on those drives. I have a 256gb NVME drive that came with my laptop, and a 1tb crucial MX500 in place of the 1tb HDD it came with. I can tell 0 difference between accessing something on the Nvme drive, vs the much slower SATA drive. My game load times showed 0 difference, so I permanently moved what I play on the MX500, to free up my NVME drives.
The only difference is when you are working daily with 4K videos. If you are buying these drives for gaming they are supposed to last for years, and it would be hard to reach their write limit.
 

Endre

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Even with gigabit internet, downloading files will be 0 different between those two drives. File swaps, there could be some difference. In real world usage in general, there is little difference between the two. Moving large files being the only possible exception. I have a 660p, in my desktop, with 2x hybrid Seagate Firecudas. For the files I commonly access, I see 0 performance difference, thanks to the ssd cache, on those drives. I have a 256gb NVME drive that came with my laptop, and a 1tb crucial MX500 in place of the 1tb HDD it came with. I can tell 0 difference between accessing something on the Nvme drive, vs the much slower SATA drive. My game load times showed 0 difference, so I permanently moved what I play on the MX500, to free up my NVME drives.
<First thing>
I agree that the difference is small.
But that’s also true about CPU overclocking, memory XMP usage, or high refresh monitors vs 60Hz.

<Second thing>
You said “even with gigabit internet”.
I am using a 1Gbps internet connection.
So, people are using connections that are at lower speeds than 1Gbps?
I mean, new motherboards have 2.5GbE and even 10GbE.
 

USAFRet

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So, people are using connections that are at lower speeds than 1Gbps?
Absolutely.

My current connection with Verizon is 100/100.

I could upgrade to gigabit service. But I personally have zero need to do that.
It would cost some extra $$, and at the current 100/100, I see ZERO problems.

My internal LAN is of course gigabit. But externally...I have no need for faster. I am lacking for nothing.
 

Endre

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Intel Optane drives are not exactly at the same league.

They were a lot more expensive with limited capacity and thought to be cache drives instead. For the rich of course it was an option.
Yeah, but I was hoping that they’ll become more affordable as they continue producing them.

Initially, regular SATA SSDs were also expensive, and today they are faster and cheaper.
 

falcon291

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Yeah, but I was hoping that they’ll become more affordable as they continue producing them.

Initially, regular SATA SSDs were also expensive, and today they are faster and cheaper.
Cheaper solutions are always more favorable. And regular PCIe-X M2 drives are more than enough for most of us.
 

Endre

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Absolutely.

My current connection with Verizon is 100/100.

I could upgrade to gigabit service. But I personally have zero need to do that.
It would cost some extra $$, and at the current 100/100, I see ZERO problems.

My internal LAN is of course gigabit. But externally...I have no need for faster. I am lacking for nothing.
OK
 

falcon291

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Not if you need the performance.

HDD is cheaper than SSD per GB. I would never go back to HDD.
For the case we were comparing Optane drives with regular M2 PCIe-X drive. Performance wise of course Optane has advantages, very good random access performance, but at the same time limited size and expensive.
 

Endre

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For the case we were comparing Optane drives with regular M2 PCIe-X drive. Performance wise of course Optane has advantages, very good random access performance, but at the same time limited size and expensive.
“Limited size”??
I wouldn’t call a 1.5TB drive small.

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/sku/129833/intel-optane-ssd-905p-series-1-5tb-12-height-pcie-x4-20nm-3d-xpoint/specifications.html

Price and availability are the biggest issues of Optane.
 

TommyTwoTone66

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Samsung premium on the 970 Evo is pretty much none, it is only about 5% more expensive than an equivalent WD or Crucial drive, and yet has higher quality flash and a faster controller. I would only recommend the 970 EVO, since the price premium is basically nothing.
 

DimkaTsv

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970 Pro is likely the last consumer MLC drive ever. Check ebay occasionally and when you see unopened 970 Pro 1Tb for under 170, buy a couple.
And it is freaking expensive actually... surely there are even more expensive disks, but 970 EVO is not cheap by any means!

Also TLC tricks aren't that complicated actually... Basically just use TLC as MLC for time being... So if you have data mass that needs to be written and you have cells that looks like this
|0|0|0| |0|0|0| |0|0|0| |0|0|0| |0|0|0|
Controller will write data this way
|1|0|0| |1|0|0| |1|0|0| |1|0|0| |1|0|0|
then
|1|1|0| |1|1|0| |1|1|0| |1|1|0| |1|1|0|
and finally will fill third section of cell
That makes TLC almost same speed as MLC in linear... maybe bit slower, actually depends on controller
 

TommyTwoTone66

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People get hung up on MLC vs SLC vs QLC, when it really doesn’t matter.

People stay up at night worrying about write cycles and lost data, but these drives don’t lose data. The fears are all completely overblown.

What happens is you get a set amount of spare area, and as flash cells gradually degrade, you start using up spare area. Any drive failure will be known about months in advance when you start getting warnings about low spare area (sometime in 2035).

I can only talk from my own experience, but I’ve had an 870 QVO for just over 12 months and been using it as a daily driver. I’d consider myself a fairly heavy user, and in that time I’ve reinstalled OS a couple of times and migrated to Windows 11 on it. Between each OS install I’m installing about 100GB of games and software, and I’m constantly downloading 4K movies and tv shows on it. At 15-20gb per movie and 3-6gb per tv show, all of which get unrarred so get written twice, it’s fair to say it’s seen at least 1TB of writes.

So far I haven’t worn out a single flash cell, spare area is still at 100.0%.
 
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TommyTwoTone66

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exactly the way manufacturers want consumers to believe... But you are right about how it won' matter for majority of casual PC users.
For users dealing with larger data, differences are night and day.
They aren’t though, that’s the thing, it’s all a big con to charge more to business users for “Enterprise grade” SSDs. The differences are all theoretical, the cheaper drives don’t just burst into flames when you put data on them, they can last decades with multiple TB of writes per day, no sweat.

I would put consumer grade QLC flash drives in a 40TB SAN enclosure that ran database servers and virtual machines, and I would not lose a moment of sleep over it.
 

Endre

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And it is freaking expensive actually... surely there are even more expensive disks, but 970 EVO is not cheap by any means!

Also TLC tricks aren't that complicated actually... Basically just use TLC as MLC for time being... So if you have data mass that needs to be written and you have cells that looks like this
|0|0|0| |0|0|0| |0|0|0| |0|0|0| |0|0|0|
Controller will write data this way
|1|0|0| |1|0|0| |1|0|0| |1|0|0| |1|0|0|
then
|1|1|0| |1|1|0| |1|1|0| |1|1|0| |1|1|0|
and finally will fill third section of cell
That makes TLC almost same speed as MLC in linear... maybe bit slower, actually depends on controller
Do a full drive write with both TLC and MLC and you’ll see the difference! After a certain amount of gigabytes, the TLC drive’s speed will drop significantly! While MLC keeps the same speed the entire time.

There’s also a huge drive reliability & durability difference between TLC and MLC!
3000 P/E cycles (TLC) vs 10000 P/E cycles (MLC).

https://www.kingston.com/czech/en/solutions/pc-performance/difference-between-slc-mlc-tlc-3d-nand
 
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DimkaTsv

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Do a full drive write with both TLC and MLC and you’ll see the difference! After a certain amount of gigabytes, the TLC drive’s speed will drop significantly! While MLC keeps the same speed the entire time.
Ah, yeah, that's for sure...
In perfect situation time equal to third of all drive
Speed after drop depends heavily on controller and temps... like KC2500 can get around 750-800MB speed after drop from reviews i read (TLC) and other drives from around same price segment barely get 500... Samsung 970 EVO can get around 1+GB all the time iirc.
MLC cache size is also important, some drives have big cache and some drives don't that also factors on overall performance
MLC speed is consistent all times, access timings are much lower and it is more durable, at cost of density and price... mostly density is a factor, it is just really hard to make affordable MLC drive with high memory amount. That's why Samsung is straying away from them i guess

Random access though can be worth actually, as it can be twice as high, but it may be better controller, it is just me that cannot afford to spend more than 120$ on 1TB drive.
Actually random read speed can factor a lot in games... if other system is able to utilize it ofc
 
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Nighthawk117

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For a premium Gen 3 NVME drive go with the Samsung 970 EVO Plus, Gen 4 NVME go with the Samsung 980 Pro. The Samsung 980 does not have a DRAM cache like the other two which is one of the reasons why it's cheaper.
 

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